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Shine Light. Save Lives. Fluorescence technology and its use in early detection of oral cancer.

Side Effect Support would like to thank Robert J. Whitman and OralID for contributing the following information regarding the role of fluorescence in the early detection of oral cancer.

Early Cancer Detection is Key.

Most annual oral cancer exams consist of a visual and tactile exam, where a dentist or hygienist palpates the neck area and inside the mouth, feeling for large masses or nodules. This is followed by a visual inspection of the mouth with white light. The problem is, by the time we feel a large mass or see a large lesion, it is too late...63% of Oral Cancers are found at Stage III –IV, where the patient has a less than a 50% survival rate at 5 years.

The rates of oral cancer now are not far off from the cervical cancer rates a few decades ago. So what happened? An annual exam called the pap smear changed cervical cancer forever, reducing the incidence rates tremendously as now these lesions were being found in dysplastic (pre-cancer) stages and being able to be removed completely.

How do we decrease oral cancer? Annual oral cancer exams with an adjunctive screening device allow clinicians to discover these oral cancers earlier, resulting in a success rate of 80 – 90%.

Fluorescence technology allows dental and medical professionals to simply shine a light and potentially save lives, being able to find these oral cancers at earlier stages.

So how does it work?

Fluorescence devices were created by top scientists and investigated at the premier cancer hospital in the world, MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX).

Fluorescence is a property where a material produces a longer wavelength and lower energy light than the absorbed light.  Healthy mucosal tissue naturally fluoresces without the need for added dyes or other chemicals.  Normal tissue fluoresces green and yellow in response to the OralID's bright blue light. However, abnormal tissue loses that natural fluorescence (LOF).  The LOF from dysplasia and cancer is due to the increase in metabolic activity; the changing NADA/FAD ratio causes a decrease in the localized fluorescence. Similarly, the altering collagen cross-links by the dysplastic cells also reduce the fluorescence in that area.

Fluorescence technology in medical applications is not novel to the oral cavity and is being used in other tissue sites such as the GI tract, cervix, lung, and skin.

Contact us at for details on how your office can utilize the technology of OralID and for more information about the ID For Life program.

Learn more about OralID and Fluorescence technology by reading "Start-up firm offers lower-cost oral cancer screening device

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